Missoulian: Roaless rule reinstatement protects 6.4M acres across Montana

A three-judge panel from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed that a 2001 rule governing inventoried roadless areas was the law of the land. That dovetailed with earlier 9th Circuit Court rulings saying the same thing.

The decisions prohibit road construction and timber cutting in 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas, including 6.4 million acres in Montana. That covers about 30 percent of the national forest system…

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., praised the 10th Circuit Court ruling, noting the Forest Service already had a backlog of more than $5 billion in backcountry road maintenance.

“Taxpayers can’t afford the Forest Service building more roads; we already have a multibillion-dollar maintenance backlog on our existing roads,” Tester wrote in an email. “What we need in Montana is better management of our roaded forest land to put folks back to work in the woods.”

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